S.P.I.E.S. 2: Flight of the Hawk is the follow-up to S.P.I.E.S. & The Lost Treasure of Atlantis, which was an online hit for Imagination Stage in the winter of 2021. DC Theatre Arts praised it as “a fantastically entertaining conglomerate of action, adventure, suspense, and pure silliness.”
We attended the opening performance of this hilarious multimedia experience and it did not disappoint.
The new adventure (which doesn’t require any knowledge of the first one) is now in-person, with the live audience of children ages 5+ taking on the role of spy cadets being taught by the hilariously bungling live facilitator, Pat.
Pat reels the cadets (you in the audience) into the experience. She asks for help, allows the cadets to choose what to do next, gets participants on stage, has everyone up dancing and entertains cadets of all ages with her witty energy.
During the cadet training, Pat is contacted and told that an award ceremony for Spy Team 7 has gone awry with the villainous Winnifred Veil putting in motion her plan to dominate the world. It’s Pat and the cadets to the rescue, providing key information and making crucial decisions to assist the spies, who are beaming in on the big screen.
The suspenseful, action-packed filmed segments interact seamlessly with the live action in the theatre, making for a uniquely original and engaging experience. The experience becomes like an escape room for children ages 5-10, solving problems, looking for clues and racing the clock to save the world. The stakes are high, but so is the fun.
We especially loved the STEM-focused puzzles that cadets had to solve collaboratively, in the theatre to help the characters on screen. The outcome of the performance is based on the power of a child’s choice. It was heartwarming to see how excited and engaged all the cadets became when they saw their power in action.
This is no accident. The director and chief conceptual artist Strother Gaines was intentional in these choice that empower children to make choices, see the impact of their choices and connect with other cadets.
Hats off to Imagination Stage for pivoting during the pandemic to create S.P.I.E.S. & The Lost Treasure of Atlantis. We love that they have embraced that crazy time and that performance in the aftermath. S.P.I.E.S. 2: Flight of the Hawk not only offers a very exciting and immersive experience for kids, but it embraces those pandemic years instead of forgetting them. The pandemic has changed us and we applaud the effort to keep those changes and move forward in a new direction.
See S.P.I.E.S. 2: Flight of the Hawk
S.P.I.E.S. 2: Flight of the Hawk has performances Saturday at 11:00 and Sunday 11:00 and 1:00 from October 29-November 20. Groups can schedule private performances, such as a birthday party, on Friday or Saturday evening. Halloween weekend, October 29 and 30, will see extra fun and (non-food) treats. Children are encouraged to come dressed as spies or in other Halloween costumes.
The show is best for ages 5+, and tickets are $25 and are available online at imaginationstage.org or at 301-280-1660. Imagination Stage is at 4908 Auburn Avenue in Bethesda. A public parking garage is located next door with free parking Saturdays and Sundays.
The runtime is 60 minutes and there is no intermission.
Next at Imagination Stage
Next up at Imagination Stage is Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience. Based on the book by Mo Willems, the musical plays November 16-January 8 and is best for ages 4-10.
Founded 43 years ago, Imagination Stage is a holistic theatre arts organization for all children and youth. Through award-winning professional theatre, arts education, and community-based theatre programming, the organization helps children and young people develop a deep appreciation of theatre arts, while building a sense of self and social understanding. Based in Bethesda, MD, its programming serves children and families throughout the DMV.